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Research is the Reason I Get to Travel the World

Diagnosed at 39 with triple-negative breast cancer, Marenda credits research for giving her the ability to pursue her dreams.

It started off as a normal night at home. Marenda Taylor, then 39, was relaxing with her husband when he discovered a lump in her breast.  After a few weeks passed, the lump persisted, and she decided to call her doctor. Eventually, Marenda received two mammograms, followed by two ultrasounds, then finally a biopsy.

“Two weeks later, my doctor called me while I was at work. ‘Can you come into the office?’ she asked. ‘Can you bring somebody? Can you come right now?” she said.

Marenda went directly to the doctor’s office on her lunch break. By the time she returned to work, she had been diagnosed with stage I, triple-negative breast cancer.

“The word ‘cancer,' to me, was a death sentence," Marenda said. "My whole life just flashed before my eyes; I'm only 39 years old, I haven't even had kids yet. There are so many things that I hadn't done."

After her diagnosis, Marenda tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, which increases a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. Her paternal grandmother, who passed away from breast cancer in 1975, may have also been a carrier.

“If all of the things we have now were available 40 years ago, my grandmother would probably still be alive,” she said.

After her diagnosis and subsequent treatment, Marenda discovered a newfound strength and appetite for life. She quit her high-stress job at a government agency and became a flight attendant to travel the world. She is currently working for Delta Airlines, a proud BCRF corporate partner that has donated $14.7 million to end breast cancer since 2005.

“There are so many Delta employees who are breast cancer survivors," Marenda said. "We meet all the time. We always hug and talk about our journeys. We know it’s all because of medical advances that we’re here today."

Marenda also became a proud advocate for breast cancer awareness and research. She serves as a blogger, public speaker, activist, and author of numerous books for those going through breast cancer.

She’s grateful for research advancements that have kept her cancer at bay and helped her achieve a good quality of life as a survivor.

“Research is the reason why I am able to live my life and live it abundantly,” she said. “It’s why I can fly from state to state, across the world—and do everything on my bucket list.”

Read more personal stories about breast cancer from BCRF’s Research Is The Reason campaign here.

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